Monday, January 20, 2014

What Took Him So Long?

A high-profile gay conservative quits the Republican Party

Jimmy LaSalvia is a lifelong conservative activist. He likes low taxes and limited government and refers to the political party that disagrees with these views as the “Democrat” Party. He’s also gay and for years has been leading the fight for a place in the Republican Party for fellow gay conservatives; LaSalvia even started an advocacy group called GOProud when he found the Log Cabin Republicans to be far too liberal. 
But, on Monday, LaSalvia finally threw in the towel and changed his registration to be an independent. On his blog, he wrote “So, now I feel huge sense of freedom. I am an independent conservative. (That sounds much better than ‘gay Republican.’)” 
In an interview with The Daily Beast, LaSalvia explained why he left the GOP. “I came to the realization that the leadership of the Republican Party just doesn’t share my principles and my values” said the conservative activist. “I am a limited government conservative and they’re big government people. I do not tolerate bigotry in any form and they do.  So I came to realize that they are wrong and I can’t continue to defend them or to let them stain my reputation any longer.”...
(In other news, he also stopped trying to breathe under water.)

... In LaSalvia’s opinion, “most people are turned off by both parties. The left wing of Democrat Party simply doesn’t live in reality and the Republican Party is tolerant of bigotry and that just isn’t acceptable to most Americans.” He ... still insisted that he was a limited-government conservative and that most Americans are right of center. LaSalvia simply wasn’t a Republican anymore...
A point I've been trying to make for approximately ever: today's Republican Party is anything but conservative; and to identify with it one can only consider oneself a fundamentalist Christian and/or an unapologetic bigot and/or a global denialist about pretty much everything. Which is NOT to say the same about conservatism. Who doesn't, for example, wish to see government as small as possible to do the job it needs to do? Who's for waste, corruption, incompetence? Who wants to pay more in taxes than is necessary to provide for the needs of a successful democracy, now and into the future?

Where the arguments are -- healthy arguments -- is in deciding the bounds of "necessary" and "successful." And "as possible." Or, at least, that's where the arguments ought to be, and where both parties must realize that they'll never get all of what they want in defining and executing those terms. Sadly, that's not where today's Republican Party, nor its mouthpieces at Fox "news" nor right-wing radio, nor teabaggers live.

Where they live is in theocracy, in fear- and hate-mongering, in "I demand everything I want or I burn the place down, and anyone who disagrees is evil." The Republican Party is as far from conservatism as Gitmo is from summer camp; it's as happy with the most basic principles of our democracy as a polar bear is with a heat wave. And until misguided, Foxolimbeckified, teabagging, under-bed-hiding manipulatees stop electing Republicans and start electing conservatives, our system will continue on its inexorable path to ruin at our own hands. Ruination by Republicans, not conservatives.

Our future depends on conservative voters waking up, leaving their party or demanding that it wake up, too. Sadly, too many of them have been convinced of their god-inspired rectitude by a cynical, dishonest, highly-effective and lowly-aiming propaganda machine, working entirely against the interest of those very voters.

[Image source]

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